Video consultations and virtual waiting rooms prove a success in Dudley

Video consultation calls and virtual waiting rooms are helping to ensure patients in Dudley get the care they need during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, outpatient centres and healthcare services in the community, introduced the technology during the coronavirus lockdown.

The trust will be keeping the system going as it moves to new ways of providing healthcare post-coronavirus.

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Diane Wake, the trust's chief executive, said: "Our video consultation system Attend Anywhere has proved invaluable for patients to be able to get the consultations they require when it is not necessary for them to physically be at one of our sites.

“As we move towards restoring all our services, we are looking at how to re-imagine and re-energise what we do to provide the best possible healthcare for the people of Dudley and beyond. Attend Anywhere will play a part in this and we are sure patients will embrace this opportunity which will cut the need to attend for many routine appointments.”

The secure web-based service has already been taken up by 34 services within the hospital and outpatient centres, and community services such as midwives and rehabilitation services. The Dudley Group was the first trust in the Black Country to introduce Attend Anywhere.

Adam Thomas, chief information officer for the trust, said: “Providing better access to our care services for patients is central to our existing strategy. There has been a huge positive ‘buzz’ for our virtual consultations from patients and doctors alike, so they are here to stay."

One of the first departments to begin using the system was trauma and orthopaedics. Dr Gail Parsons, nurse consultant, said: "Attend Anywhere is definitely something we have embraced and see as an essential addition to what we do.

“One example is a patient who needed me to assess her incision after a hip replacement. She was able to show me the wound on her smartphone and I was able to reassure her that everything was normal with it. I was also able to check on the generalised swelling in her leg compared to the other.

“While this will not be suitable for everyone, our expectations about who would be able to use this service have been wrong! One of my colleagues needed to do a post-op review on a patient in their mid 90s and her husband asked for a video consultation."

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